On February 28, 2017 over 200 community members gathered at City Hall to address the recent ICE raids that occurred in Santa Cruz on February 13 in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Jose Lucas’ daughter was taken by immigration officials on the night of February 13 during the joint operation between the Department of Homeland Security and Santa Cruz Police Department.
Santa Cruz Deputy Chief Dan Flippo maintains that SCPD was assured by DHS that no arrests would be made on grounds of immigration status. However, SCPD disclosed during their presentation to City Council that “a total of 20 or 21 people in all” were detained or arrested during the operation and “10 people [were] arrested under gang indictment, 10 people for immigration status.”
As of 2.28.17, the date of this meeting, SCPD officials did not know the names or the total number of people taken during the ICE operation. The public connected the events that happened in our Santa Cruz community to State orchestrated disappearances of people in Latin American countries. Attendees of the meeting denounced the actions of the SCPD and called upon local representatives to take action.
Santa Cruz City Council unanimously voted to adopt a city ordinance with firm language regarding non-cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, providing funds for legal aid, and actively working to restore the community’s trust.
The truth of an embedded ICE agent in the SCPD surfaced during this meeting. Police Chief Kevin Vogel explained that following the murder of a community member in 2009, SCPD provided office space to DHS investigator and specified that the official’s focus was on gang-related crime, “he’s been there since 2009. He’s never enforced immigration law. The resolution that was passed back in 2010 was specific to immigration and not to criminal investigations. The issue had never come up before, he’s been involved in this case that we’ve been working with the MS-13 gang for the last six years.”
Police Chief Vogel affirmed, “my intention is to serve the Homeland Security agent with eviction papers”, and clarified that the special agent is not needed in Santa Cruz in order to continue with the gang investigation.